Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Review

  • Posted October 22nd, 2010 at 11:37 EDT by Adam Dolge

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Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

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Castlevania is reborn into a 3D action game that borrows heavily from some of the PS3's greatest hits. However, with so much to experience, thrilling boss battles, and plenty of replay value, it's well worth the investment.

We like

  • The game boasts enormous replay value
  • The backdrops are stunning and the music engrossing
  • The Combat is effortless and engaging

We dislike

  • Plays a bit too similarly to other PS3 games for our liking
  • The platforming and climbing elements can prove frustrating
  • The camera doesn't always serve its purpose

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

(continued from previous page) ...stringing together successful attacks without taking any damage—also known as the focus ability. This can be tricky, and again requires a bit of skill to get down.

Of course, all isn’t perfect and the perhaps our biggest gripe with Castlevania rests in its desire to mimic a certain PlayStation 3 masterpiece. Yes, the game attempts to steal a bit of climbing and platforming from Uncharted. There are moments when it works, but many more moments where it doesn’t work. Too often the camera gets in the way, making in nearly impossible to see where you are supposed to advance. What’s worse, in our opinion, is that you can’t really climb everywhere—there are specifically laid out places for Gabriel to climb around, meaning if you can’t figure out where you are supposed to climb, you’ll have to waste some time looking around because you won’t be able to advance.

The game also borrows heavily from both God of War and Uncharted in the puzzles department. But, since you have the ability to revisit past levels, you’ll find that the puzzles are enhanced the further you progress—essentially by gaining additional abilities, you can go back to old levels (skip the intro cutscene) and solve puzzles or reach locations that were otherwise unattainable. In terms of game length, Lords of Shadow drags on slightly, clocking in at a meaty 20 hours or so. It’s not that it’s too long, it’s that there are too many redundant tasks dotted throughout, such as pulling familiar levers and slaying countless monsters over again. Still, the game’s greatest strength is the fact you can play it over and over again and experience something new each time. Unlike other games that make you bump up the difficulty to try something new, or give you a reason to play it again, you can go back through any previous level and try to go about it a new way, finding new treasures, and seeing previously unlocked areas.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is as close to perfection in a vampire killing game (oh, and you’ll have to wait until deep into the game to do any of that) as you’ll find. While it shares little in common with its predecessors, it’s still a lot of fun to play and a worthwhile experience for any Castlevania aficionado and hardcore gamer alike. Sure, it won’t blow your mind, and you may find too many resemblances to other PS3 games in the genre, but you’ll likely walk away with a feeling of accomplishment. And, what’s best, after you walk away, you have so many reasons to take a step back into this compelling fantasy world and see what else there is to explore.

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